About 40 miles of Key West, Florida on 12 April, Carnival Conquest (2002/ 110,239gt) rescued 13 Cubans from the raft on which they were floating and later handed them over to the US Coastguard. The ship was at the end of a seven-night cruise from New Orleans.

The company has been the subject of criticism following various problems, particularly with Carnival Triumph and Carnival Splendor in November 2010. As a result the company has decided to make voluntary payments to the US Coastguard to cover its costs relating to the two incidents. The former incident was thought to have incurred about $800,000 of expense, while the latter may have cost more than $3 million.

Following those and other less serious problems earlier in the year, the company has announced a US$300 million programme to install back-up power sources that will at the very least keep toilets, air-conditioning, refrigeration and cooking facilities operational in the event of a systems failure. All 24 of the company’s ships will be upgraded as a matter of priority.

Carnival Legend (2002/85,942gt) became the first ship to be based in Northern Europe for several years when she arrived on 22 April to begin a series of cruises initially from Barcelona and then from Dover.

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